Vasculitis Foundation Canada

By Jon Stewart

Rituximab Biosimilars in ANCA-associated Vasculitis  

Canadian vasculitis researchers are busy with ‘BRAVO’, an observational study of the real-world safety and effectiveness of rituximab biosimilars compared to the originator in ANCA associated vasculitis.

Rituximab can be an effective treatment for some forms of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV). Rituximab is now available as a ‘biosimilar,’ a highly similar copy of the originally approved biologic drug (the ‘originator’). Most Canadian provinces and insurance companies will now only pay for rituximab biosimilars, because they cost 30% less than the originator. While we know biosimilars are safe and effective from studies in other diseases, there are very few data on biosimilar rituximab in AAV.

In 2021, a group of Canadian vasculitis researchers started the BRAVO study (Biosimilar Rituximab in ANCA associated Vasculitis compared to the Originator), after receiving funding from the Canadian Initiative for Outcomes in Rheumatology cAre (CIORA). BRAVO will follow study participants with AAV treated with rituximab biosimilars as part of their routine care (including if they switched from the originator). They will compare outcomes (such as disease control, adverse events) to those of participants in Canadian vasculitis cohorts who received the originator in the past.

BRAVO will provide patients and doctors with valuable information on the safety and effectiveness of rituximab biosimilars in AAV, helping to improve the care of Canadians with this condition. Several sites across Canada are participating, and those interested in learning more can contact the centre where they receive care and/or their local CanVasc centre (see:

Preliminary results are expected in spring of 2024, stay tuned!